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Cleveland to Overhaul Police Use-of-Force Policy Under Federal Consent Decree

May 26, 2015  | 

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson's settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice will make way for a substantial – and substantive – overhaul of a use-of-force policy that top police brass once bragged was a model for the country.

Officers will be held to higher standards on unholstering and firing their weapons and no longer will be allowed to use their guns to strike suspects as they would with a baton.

They will be required to take immediate steps to provide or secure first aid for suspects they injure, addressing an issue raised in many lawsuits that cost the city money.

And retaliatory force – such as tussling with a suspect at the end of a chase – will be explicitly prohibited under terms of the so-called consent decree announced Tuesday.

The 105-page consent decree, which must be approved by a federal judge, calls for dozens of rewrites to the Division of Police rulebook on force, many of them tactical, reports.

Many of the new rules will emphasize "de-escalation techniques." Officers will be told to give suspects a chance to surrender and to use verbal warnings before applying force.

Officers also will not be permitted to fire their guns at a moving vehicle "unless use of lethal force is justified by something other than the threat from the moving vehicle."

Aside from guns, the consent decree calls for refined policies governing the use of Tasers and pepper spray and for a ban on neck holds as a method of subduing a suspect.


Comments (11)

Displaying 1 - 11 of 11

Tom Ret @ 5/26/2015 3:25 PM

Pretty soon the feds will outlaw dirty looks by the police as excessive force and
new method of policing will be to hang out at the station and wait for suspects to give themselves up there.

I would think most if not all suspects would know they have an option of surrendering irrespective of the officer mentioning it.

Jon Retired LEO @ 5/26/2015 4:01 PM

I hope every cop in that city resigns. Then the Justice Department and the Mayor can run things by themselves. Good luck with that citizens of Cleveland.

132&Bush @ 5/26/2015 5:53 PM

I predict dead about you...

John802 @ 5/26/2015 8:10 PM

The tail is wagging the dog. When is Stupid going to stop?

Morning Eagle @ 5/27/2015 4:15 AM

The count of officers being assaulted or killed is escalating rapidly all across the country. Letting the feds and the almost totally corrupt and biased INjustice dep't begin dictating policies more than they already do will do nothing to alleviate or decrease attacks on officers. Keep up with this kind of crap and officers cannot be blamed if they become hesitant to do their jobs and too often those hesitations can be fatal. But the politically correct cowards could not care less about that because they are not the ones whose lives are on the line.

Trigger @ 5/27/2015 4:39 AM

It is very unfortunate that the feds get involved in things that could be resolved locally. Training is critical to overcome many of the issues that were brought forth. Having proper supervision and having supervisors who know how to supervise. Having command staff that will support their troops and not micro manage everthing that is done. Having reasonable policy and procedures in place but not so fine tuned that an officer must constantly worry about doing something wrong. I have not read the decree however from what I have read and heard on the news some of the guidelines are terrifying.

Ok @ 5/27/2015 5:59 AM

The priorites of our elected officials and their lackies in the DOJ are alarming. Rome is burning and they are concerned w/ perceptions.

AZBIGDOG @ 5/27/2015 6:40 AM

So, no more "tussling"? Not sure but would that be anything like attempting to use open hand and/or less lethal force to force submission by a ner do well? Okay so far as an officer you will not be able to shoot at or near a vehicle that is aimed at you and accelerating in an attempt to run you over. You must first allow the criminal to decide if he wants to surrender to get his day in court. And if he decides he would rather just kill you, you have to let him take the first shot or stab or blunt force. Sorry, but I am glad that I do not work for that city. The "rules" have been twisted to not allow an officer to defend himself and if he does he will immediately be arrested and charged with crimes and violation of rights. Citizens will be dropping like flies and officers will be going elsewhere soon.

Tom Ret @ 5/27/2015 9:38 AM

If you work in Cleveland under the new rules don't shoot a suspect that is trying to run you over but is permissible to become a human speed bump.

Retired Chief @ 5/27/2015 4:44 PM

History has shown that any police agency which agrees to a "consent decree" with the federal government is led by a gutless wimp. Professional cops don't need to be told by DOJ to treat people with dignity. Professional cops know how to treat people. Professional cops don't need to be schooled on use of force by a bunch of bureaucrats who have never responded to an active shooter, an armed robbery in progress, or a rape in a dark alley at 2 AM. Professional cops use force only as permitted by law and as required by circumstances.

There will be two very negative outcomes to this consent decree as there have been in any politically correct city which has agreed to such nonsense. #1 crime, especially violent crime, will increase because cops afraid of getting in trouble for doing their job will not do their job and will back off of necessary enforcement. #2 More cops will be killed or injured. This ridiculous consent decree requires officers to document in writing every time they draw

Tone @ 6/4/2015 10:41 PM

If dignity was the approach we wouldn't be here to begin with. As an officer I don't think the DOJ should impose every legislation for the PD in Cleveland, but let's face it..This was brought into place because too many people are dying without justified probable cause. Take Tamir Rice for instance.....really? Something has to be done. And i guess now something is being done. Cleveland should've been handling there business prior to the DOJ coming in. We should be asking the question why does it take for the DOJ to come into one's state and pretty much run it? The DOJ is only doing what the state should have been doing from day one...regulating and managing the abrasive posture of some of those officers who act out in ways that shame the entire force. If it were right for those officers caught in the snare, Cleveland wouldn't be getting the attention it is today...Just saying..The blaming has to stop and accountability must take the lead.

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